Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I consider these snowy, frigid weeks we’ve been having to be “soup weather.” There’s just something about having a hot bowl of soup on a cold night that makes you feel better (not as much as a sunny beach does, but I’ll take what I can get). I usually love to make my crock pot chili in the winter, and probably will be whipping up another batch of that soon, but I wanted to try something new. I looooove Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup (in a bread bowl…) but I know that since it’s creamy and cheesy it’s also pretty high in calories.

Luckily, I just started getting Cooking Light magazine and they happened to have a lightened-up version of broccoli cheddar soup! The base for this one is actually pureed brown instant rice. Now before you say “ew” and stop reading, hear me out: there’s still tons of cheesy flavor to make this allllmost as good as the original. The rice just gives it a slightly different taste and actually makes it a lot more filling, but it still is full of cheese and broccoli, I promise! I actually thought it tasted a lot like chicken divan in soup form (without the chicken). So maybe that’s what I should be calling it. And maybe I should try it with chicken next time. But for now, here’s the recipe! At only about 300 calories a bowl, there’s still plenty of room for a side salad, a slice of bread, or fruit to go with it too. Enjoy!

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Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup


Adapted From: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock/broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 lbs broccoli florets, chopped (about 4 cups once stems are removed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used half sharp and half sharp white)

Directions:

1.) Combine 2 cups stock/broth and rice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally (mine kept trying to boil over). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

2.) Place rice mixture and milk in a blender or food processor (this was a little messy in my food processor) and blend until smooth.

3.) Heat a large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. Add onions and saute until soft, then add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in broccoli and salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add remaining 2 cups stock/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add rice mixture and simmer about 2 minutes while stirring.

4.) Take 2 cups of soup and put into blender/food processor. Blend until smooth and add back to pan. Add pepper and 1 1/2 cups cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Divide soup among 4 bowls and top each with 1/8 cup cheese.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 309
Fat 19 g (9 g saturated)
Fiber 4 g
Carbs 22 g
Sodium 647 mg
Protein 17 g

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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

Happy Thursday! This has somehow been a snow storm-free week (knock on wood), only about an inch of flurries. This is so exciting! I’m so ready for this winter to be over. Luckily, in 25 days I will be heading to Myrtle Beach and then to spend the week in Asheville, NC with my sister and brother-in-law. Here’s hoping the time flies! 🙂

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was nervous to try kickboxing. But…I loved it! Tonight will be my third class and I can’t wait. It’s an hour long  workout, and you get REALLY sweaty, but it’s also a lot of fun and goes by fast. Each class is a little different so you definitely get a good workout, as well as learning some boxing skills. I’m always sore the next day! Unfortunately I can only do one class a week at this point, but I am hoping to go more often once my schedule slows down in a few months.

This week I decided to lighten up a creamy pasta dish that a friend posted on Facebook. I already had a spaghetti squash, so rather than make it with pasta I just used that. The sauce came out so good! I imagine it would also be delicious on its own with just the chicken and a side of veggies, or even with shrimp. I’ll have to try out some other variations and report back!

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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from: Julia’s Album

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes (I used dried, could also use tomatoes in oil)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 bag spinach (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (I used Greek cream cheese!)
  • 8 cups spaghetti squash (or 8 oz pasta)
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1.) Bake spaghetti squash (directions here) and let cool. Or, cook pasta and drain.

2.) In a large pan, on medium-high heat, saute garlic and tomatoes in 2 tbsp oil for about 1 min. Add spinach, in bunches, and add an additional 2 tbsp oil. Cook until spinach is wilted, then remove spinach and tomatoes from pan (leaving oil). Cut tomatoes into smaller pieces.

3.) Add chicken to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until chicken is done. Then cut chicken into small pieces and add back in the tomatoes and spinach.

4.) Add milk and cheeses and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to simmer and cook, stirring, until all cheese melts and sauce is creamy. Then stir in 1 tbsp basil and remove from heat. Serve over squash/pasta and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 488
Fat 21 g (5 g saturated)
Fiber 8 g
Carbs 38 g
Sodium 586 mg
Protein 41 g

Berry Oatmeal Bake

I’ve been trying to switch up my usual breakfast of toast with banana and peanut butter, so when I had a second snow day (this week!) on Tuesday, I decided to make this oatmeal bake I had seen on Instagram. It was super easy and made 6 servings, so breakfast for the week is ready! Each morning I just heated a slice and poured a tablespoon of maple syrup on top…delicious! And there are so many ways you can mix this up; I’m picturing peanut butter and banana, blueberries and strawberries…yum!

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Berry Oatmeal Bake

Adapted from: Broke and Bougie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup (the good stuff, not Aunt Jemima’s corn syrupy concoction!)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup raspberries (I used frozen and just thawed them in the microwave)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, cut into slices

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, syrup, cinnamon, baking powder, walnuts, and 1/2 cup raspberries.

2.) In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, milk, and vanilla extract.

3.) Spray a glass baking dish or brownie pan with cooking spray and spread the oat mixture evenly. Pour the egg mixture over the top and shake a little to settle it evenly. Top with remaining raspberries, banana slices, and a little cinnamon and bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve each slice warm with a tablespoon of maple syrup, if desired, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, without syrup on top, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 351
Fat 16 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 47 g
Sugars 23 g
Protein 8 g

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

So once again, we started off the week snowed in! We are running out of places to put it all, so I’m ready for it to stop any time now. I’m also getting tired of shoveling and my car sliding all over the place. Is it summer yet? At least it’s given me some time to whip up some new recipes!

Yet again I looked to The Skinnytaste Cookbook for inspiration, and once I saw these enchiladas I looked no further. Yummy Mexican food…but better for you…need I say more? These were delicious and the recipe made 8 enchiladas, so I froze half to enjoy another time – win win! I made a side of Mexican rice to go with them and it was the perfect meal.

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Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted From: The Skinnytaste Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato or marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 10-12 oz chicken breast tenderloins, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese
  • Fat-free plain Greek yogurt, guacamole, or other toppings (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat olive oil over low heat in a skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring frequently.

2.) Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, cooked chicken, 1/4 cup of cilantro, seasonings, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.

3.) Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture into each tortilla, roll them up, and place seam side down in baking dish.

4.) Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve enchiladas with a side of Mexican rice (recipe below) and top with Greek yogurt, guacamole, avocado, etc. and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per enchilada, without toppings, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 302
Fat 12 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 5 g
Carbs 31 g
Sodium 785 mg
Protein 20 g

Mexican Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used roasted corn from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve warm as a side for the enchiladas!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 141
Fat 2 g (0 g saturated)
Fiber 3 g
Carbs 29 g
Sodium 0 mg
Protein 4 g